Buttons, Hard Work, and Poetry

Dad is out of the nursing home! He told me that he listened to me (haha, this must be a first time!) and worked really hard to get out of there.  I had made him promise to try his best.

So he is home and that is a more comfortable place to be, although I know that he is still very uncomfortable. What a difficult recovery.

I found these buttons in a drawer yesterday. They belonged to my grandmother who was a great tailor/seamstress. My father’s mother. These buttons are at least 50 years old–some perhaps much older. I think my father gets a kick out of me saving stuff like this. When his mother passed away, he created a collage of scraps of her clothing that he hung on the wall. And he made Christmas decorations by pinning her costume jewelry onto styrofoam “Christmas trees.”


UPDATE: here is a link to a blog, Telling Family Tales, I’ve been reading for a long time. She has ideas to use those old buttons!!!

On another note, remember the “Feeling Confused” post by Cullen Bailey Burns?

I finally wrote a review of her gorgeous 2nd book. I loved Cullen’s first book Paper BoatIt came out in 2003, and I wrote a review for Amazon for it. Most of the poems were written after the unexpected and terribly tragic death of her only sister. The book was really an elegy for her sister–a beautiful tribute to a life lost too soon.

Now Cullen has a 2nd book out, Slip. And this book is a wonderful example of contemporary poetry. This the review I put on Amazon and Goodreads:

There is something holy in the language of the poems in Slip, Cullen Bailey Burns’ second book, as if it were a consecration of both representation and thought. Maybe it’s that so many poems call the reader to action: to imagine anew, to find nostalgia in surprising places, and to be as one with the “we.” Like any sacred ritual, the identities of leader and participant meld. I am swept up in the miracle of grief and transformation: “There’s no one to call for help. The deer / swam straight at that sun. / / Such transmutation: water, sky, gold.” If we move with life’s changes, we will occasionally stand for a moment in “the golden light that makes us beautiful.”

It’s really awe-inspiring and humbling how much wonderful poetry is being written and published year after year.


Filed under Book Review, Books, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing

64 responses to “Buttons, Hard Work, and Poetry

  1. So glad your dad is out of the nursing home! And what a treasure those buttons are 🙂 Congratulations, too, on writing the book review. Any writing is writing, and we learn a lot when we review the writing of others.

    • Marie, thank you so much. I agree about reviewing. I am trying to read and review some poetry books on a regular basis. And I haven’t forgotten doing memoir reviews. Reading one now.

  2. I’m so happy to hear your father is out of the nursing home, Luanne. That is great news! I’m glad I’m not the only one who saves buttons. 🙂

  3. Great news regarding your father! And I always enjoy hearing about unique collections that people have as remembrances of people and things of the past. 🙂

    • Mark, thanks so much. I love hearing about those, too. There is a new show on TV about strange inheritances I have been thinking about checking out. Have you seen it?

  4. What wonderful news about your father! I wish him a speedy recovery.
    My mother used to have a big box of buttons–I’m not sure what happened to it, but I used to love looking through it.

    • Merril, thank you so much for your kind wishes. I bet that box of buttons is a good memory for you! I do wonder what happens to things like that and old recipe collections, etc. Do many people just “cull” their belongings at a certain point?

      • Yes, I hadn’t thought of the box of buttons in a long time. People do “cull” their belongings. My mom moved several times, and when she moved from a very large house to an apartment, obviously many things had to go. My siblings and I have some things. I think the button box stayed through several moves, but a few years ago when she moved from an apartment to an independent living apartment, she had to get rid of more items. I will have to ask her about the button box!

  5. Luanne, I’m so glad to know your dad was able to come home and what a wonderful story about his saving your grandmother’s cloths – no wonder he loves that you save buttons and so many memories for your family!! I see apples don’t roll far from your family tree…:)
    P.S. I ordered your book this a.m. – looking forward to reading it!!

    • Every once in a while he sends me stuff he finds that is old that belonged to someone. For instance, e gave me Grandma’s old scissors, too, that she used for sewing. Lately he keeps saying, “You’re a lot more like me than I realized.” haha Thanks so much for ordering my book–I appreciate the vote of confidence!!!

  6. So glad your dad has come home. Nice too that the buttons fasten him, his mother, and you together. I loved your remarks on Cullens book. You are a deep thinker.

  7. Weird coincidence as today my decluttering expert helped me with this and that and there were heaps of buttons! So glad your dad is doing well. xxx

    • Julie, there is no such thing as a coincidence! I love this “decluttering expert” stuff. OK, I just ran over to your blog to read about Dina’s decluttering help. You are a brave woman!! Thank you so much re my dad. xo

  8. Hey Luanne! I love buttons like that too. My grandmother had a cookie tin (remember those?) of buttons. I wish I had it today. Glad your dad is out of the nursing home. Those places are only good for the very sick.

    • Hollis, did you really just say cookie tin of buttons? Did you? The REST of Grandma’s buttons are in a . . . wait for it . . . shortbread cookie tin!!! Blue tin. Maybe I will share it and it will make you feel as if you still have your grandmother’s tin. I wish we could add photos to comments on WordPress. You are right about the nursing home. The people can’t really communicate. And there was my father, weak as anything, but wanting to chat with people there.

    • Whoa, my memory short circuited. The buttons WERE in a blue cookie tin, but a few years ago I discovered that the inside of the tin was flaking all over the buttons. I had to rescue the buttons and dispose of the tin. The buttons were put into a tupperware. I had forgotten the short term and remembered the long term.

  9. Oh, when is your book out? The poetry one?

  10. What good news about your dad. So glad to hear it. As for the buttons, you’ve just reminded me that I have a shoebox full of buttons that are probably close to the age of yours. Mine are probably about 40 years old. I had a lot of loose ones so one day I sewed the matching ones onto bits of cardboard and then I put them into plastic bags in the box, sorted by colour. Sometimes they come in handy. Sometimes they’re just fun to look at. Either way, I wouldn’t part with them, so I can appreciate what treasures your butttons are.

  11. My father’s mother was also a tailor/seamstress! 🙂 I am soooo looking forward to getting to your book Luanne and promise to do so soon (my day job is keeping me far too busy). I will check out Cullen’s works too at some point.

  12. Great news about your dad, I hope he begins to feel better now he’s at home. I’ve got a whole box full of buttons that I keep just in case, but I confess, I rarely use, since I’m definitely no seamstress 🙂

    • Why do you think you keep them, Andrea? I’m fascinated by people hanging onto buttons. Do you think they are pretty? Or just possibly useful? Do you think you might ever use them for crafts? or do they hold memories?
      Thanks re my dad!

      • I’ve no idea really Luanne – I think they were all spare buttons off one thing or another that never got used, but I think I’ve probably only ever used a handful – I’m not a sewer at all. Maybe I need to think of a creative use for them 🙂

  13. So glad to hear that your Dad is home! Hoping his recovery goes smoothly. xo

  14. Thrilled to see that your father is home. Hope he is doing well. jx

  15. Glad you dad is home! And I will definitely check out the poems.

  16. Your dad is very determined! I have buttons like those, too! I can’t bear to part with them for the same reason as you. Because they’re small they avoid my regular purges but there must be something they could be used for, aside from the obvious. As for the poetry, it is heartening that it is still being enjoyed by enough people to warrant publishing.

    • So determined and hard headed ;)! So glad the buttons avoid your purges (unlike your BOOKS). I agree with you about the poetry. It amazes me how many people write poetry, but never READ it LOL.

  17. Your grandmother’s buttons reminded me of the drawer of buttons I have. You know when you buy a sweater or coat there’s always an extra button attached. I’ll never use all these buttons and yet I keep them. At least you’re have some magical nostalgic meaning to them. Mine are just a reminder of how I have a hard time letting go!
    I’m glad to hear that your father is back home! 🙂

    • I have a drawer like that–top little drawer of my dresser! All the extra buttons from clothes. Then I don’t know what happens to the clothes. Maybe I give them away eventually. There ought to be something we could do with those extra buttons!
      Thanks so much re my dad. He is working hard with a physical therapist who comes to his home.

  18. So glad you’re father picked THIS instruction to follow and that he’s home! I like his idea of turning the costume jewelry keepsakes into a Christmas decoration – another way for your grandmother to continue to be part of the celebrations!

    • Shel, me too. He is usually too stubborn to listen to me, but this time he chose it on purpose, almost like a guidepost, you know? Eventually my father gave me the little Christmas trees with Grandma’s jewelry!

  19. Glad your Dad has busted outta that joint!

  20. Hi Luanne! Happy to know your dad is no longer in a nursing home 🙂 Thank you for sharing this story and for the photos of those buttons. Your story trigger a story that I wrote about my grandma, who also saved buttons. I remember how I enjoyed rummaging through her tin box as a child. Should time permits, please visit my blog Reflections From the Heart and read my post about it: http://maryaperez.com/2013/07/12/she-hurts-no-more/

    Oh and you have a new follower 😉
    Cheers! Mary

  21. Great going for your dad. I love the things he made with your grandmother’s dresses and jewelry. My daughter-in-law’s mother, born in India as was she, wore beautiful saris. After she died my daughter-in-law used them as wall hangings – a loving memory. I know those buttons. I have buttons like that which are indeed over fifty years old. My mother sent me off to college with a “sewing kit” that included the buttons. About “the golden light that makes us beautiful”. My son who lost his job in the 2008 economic downturn has been searching for a new one for almost seven years. He was one of the final two candidates for a job he wanted badly. Yesterday he called me to say three little words. “I got it.” My “mother’s heart” can be at peace.

  22. So glad to hear the wonderful news about your father Luanne, that is such a relief to know for you. And those buttons…I have similar from my grandmother 🙂 Such beautiful poetry, so much to be read…

    • Sherri, you are tagged in today’s (Thursday) post! I can’t wait to read it. Yes, Cullen’s poetry is so beautiful!
      I love that you too have your grandmother’s buttons! Will our children hang onto our grandmother’s buttons? That is something I am not certain about.

      • Thanks so much Luanne, I’m honoured that you would tag me, I am really looking forward to taking part 🙂 Re the buttons, hmmm…that’s a very interesting thought and actually, I tend to agree with you… :/

  23. I am so happy about your father’s determination and spirit, Luanne. He was able to listen to your advice and follow it, will wonders never cease? (smiles!) I had a big jar of buttons from my Mom’s house, set aside not to sell. Along came a buyer who made an offer I could not refuse. I saved three pages or papers with the various buttons on it. Also, I have my own rather ordinary buttons. When a shirt gets ‘old and too worn out to donate,’ I learned from my Mom and Grandma, “You need to cut off the buttons and save them, just in case you may need them. Then use the cloth for polishing or cleaning.”
    I like the idea of your Dad using so many different found items for art pieces, but using the buttons on styrofoam Christmas trees. He is so creative and the idea of a collage is beautiful sounding, too.

    • Will wonders never cease is so true! (And that is one of my mother’s expressions!) I’m glad you were able to save some of the buttons from the big offer!! Robin, that is a fabulous idea that I had forgotten about. Thank you for reminding me!!! Yes, Dad is very creative, which is something I never realized growing up!!! I love reading your responses, Robin. They always make me think of so many things! xo

      • Luanne, sometimes I don’ t get such a warm reception to my rambles so this is a lovely response. I feel you may ‘get me,’ which makes our friendship very special. I love reading your posts, wish I could be better and more timely in my comments. I am so glad you learn something from me, since I learn tons of writing tips and suggestions, which I store in the attic of my brain, for ‘someday, you will need this information!’ xo

        • I find it hard to believe that you don’t get a warm reception, Robin! And never worry a bout being “timely” over here. I am grateful that you make it a point to stop over when you get a chance. Send you powerful vibes for a happy resolution to the job crisis. And for a Happy Valentine’s weekend. xoxo

  24. Pingback: Buttons, Hard Work, and Poetry | poptreasure

  25. There’s just something about cards with buttons on! 🙂 Glad Dad is doing better.

    • Isn’t it so?! I love them, too. Remember how much fun it used to be to look at novelty racks at the dime store, trims at the fabric store, etc.? So little of that stuff around any more. Thank you re my father. He’s working hard at recovery!

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